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Full text of "hughes"

»IC AN* 9E *VC 


selected »*e*# er 


e»ite» »y ft*y*eM» sevuMw, JR. 

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Portland, O r e g o k 

Scriptor Press 

»IC AN* 9E »VC 


/elected »ec*# er 


ty i»<»y*em» /eviAft*, ib. 

Number Twenty-one 

This volume is for Lisa Marie Zent 

Burning Man Books is a special projects division imprint of 

Scriptor Press 

2442 NW Market Street, #68 

Seattle, WA 98107 



This volume was composed 

in the Book Antiqua and BeesKnees fonts 

in PageMaker 6.5 on the 

Macintosh G4 computer 

I dream a world where man 

No other man will scorn, 

Where love will bless the earth 

And peace its paths adorn 

I dream a world where all 

Will know sweet freedom's way, 

Where greed no longer saps the soul 

Nor avarice blights our day. 

A world I dream where black or white, 

Whatever race you be, 

Will share the bounties of the earth 

And every man is free, 

Where wretchedness will hang its head 

And joy, like a pearl, 

Attends the needs of all mankind— 

Of such I dream, my world! 

Dig and Be Dug in Return: Selected Poems • 5 


*A»A* AN* THE MieNE 9111 

What happens to a dream deferred? 

Does it dry up 

Like a raisin in the sun? 

Or fester like a sore — 

And then run? 

Does it stink like rotten meat? 

Or crust and sugar over — 

like a syrupy sweet? 

Maybe it just sags 

like a heavy load. 

Or does it explode? 

The ivory gods, 

And the ebony gods, 

And the gods of diamond and jade, 

Sit silently on their temple shelves 

While the people 

Are afraid. 

Yet the ivory gods, 

And the ebony gods, 

And the gods of diamond-jade, 

Are only silly puppet gods 

That the people themselves 

Have made. 

You say I O.Ked 
O.K.ed it when? 
My goodness, Central 
That was then! 

I'm mad and disgusted 
With that Negro now. 
I don't pay no REVERSED 
CHARGES nohow. 

You say, I will pay it— 

Else you'll take out my phone? 

You better let 

My phone alone. 

I didn't ask him 
To telephone me. 
Roscoe knows darn well 
Ain't free. 

If I ever catch him, 
Lawd, have pity! 
Calling me up 
From Kansas City. 

Just to say he loves me! 
I knowed that was so. 

Why didn't he tell me some'n 
I don't know? 

For instance, what can 
Them other girls do 
That Alberta K. Johnson 
Can't do — and more, too? 

6 • Langston Hughes 

Dig and Be Dug in Return: Selected Poems • 7 

What's that, Central? 
You say you don't care 
Nothing about my 
Private affair? 

Well, even less about your 
PHONE BILL, does I care! 

Un-humm-m! . . . Yes! 
You say I gave my O.K.? 
Well, that O.K. you may keep- 

But I sure ain't gonna pay! 


A man knocked three times. 
I never seen him before. 
He said, Are you Madam? 
I said, What's the score? 

He said, I reckon 
You don't know my name, 
But I've come to call 
On you just the same. 

I stepped back 
Like he had a charm. 
He said, I really 
Don't mean no harm. 

I'm just Old Death 
And I thought I might 
Pay you a visit 
Before night. 

He said, You're Johnson— 
Madam Alberta K? 
I said, Yes —but Alberta 
Ain't goin' with you today! 

No sooner had I told him 
Than I awoke. 
The doctor said, Madam, 
Your fever's broke— 

Nurse, put her on a diet, 
And buy her some chicken. 
I said, Better buy two — 
Cause I'm still here kickin'! 

8 • Langston Hughes 

Dig and Be Dug in Return: Selected Poems • 9 



In an envelope marked: 


God addressed me a letter. 

In an envelope marked: 


I have given my answer. 

I work all day, 

Said Simple John, 

Myself a house to buy. 

I work all day, 

Said Simple John, 

But Pierrot wondered why. 

For Pierrrot loved the long white road, 
And Pierrot loved the moon, 
And Pierrot loved a star-filled sky, 
And the breath of a rose in June. 

I have one wife, 

Said Simple John, 

And, faith, I love her yet. 

I have one wife, 

Said Simple John, 

But Pierrot left Pierrette. 

For Pierrot saw a world of girls, 
And Pierrot loved each one, 
And Pierrot thought all maidens fair 
As flowers in the sun. 

Oh, I am good, 

Said Simple John, 

The Lord will take me in. 

Yes, I am good, 

Said Simple John, 

But Pierrot's steeped in sin. 

For Pierrot played on a slim guitar, 
And Pierrot loved the moon, 
And Pierrot ran down the long white road 
With the burgher's wife one June. 

10 • Langston Hughes 

Dig and Be Dug in Return: Selected Poems • 1 1 


#vici»ev HeTc 

We passed their graves: 
The dead men there, 
Winners or losers, 
Did not care. 

The calm, 

Cool face of the river 

Asked me for a kiss. 

In the dark 
They could not see 
Who had gained 
The victory. 


From Christ to Ghandi 

Appears this truth— 

St. Francis of Assisi 

Proves it, too: 

Goodness becomes grandeur 

Surpassing might of kings. 

Halos of kindness 

Brighter shine 

Than crowns of gold, 

And brighter 

Than rich diamonds 


The simple dew 

Of love. 


It would be nice 
In any case, 
To someday meet you 
Face to face 
Walking down 
The road to hell... 
As I come up 
Feeling swell. 

12 • Langston Hughes 

Dig and Be Dug in Return: Selected Poems • 13 

H€k nee* 


How quiet 

It is in this sick room 

Where on the bed 

A silent woman lies between two lovers — 

Life and Death, 

And all three covered with a sheet of pain. 


God in His infinite wisdom 
Did not make me very wise — 
So when my actions are stupid 
They hardly take God by surprise. 

I play it cool 

and dig all jive 

That's the reason 

I stay alive. 

My motto, 

As I live and learn, 


Dig and Be Dug 

In Return. 

14 • Langston Hughes 

Dig and Be Dug in Return: Selected Poems • 15